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Case Summary: Hercules Agrees to $1 Million Cleanup at its Hattiesburg, Miss. Facility

On July 3, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Hercules Incorporated (Hercules) agreed to an order on consent under section 3008(h) of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regarding the Hercules facility in Hattiesburg, Miss. to conduct cleanup work valued at $1 million to address on and off-site contamination.

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Information about Hercules Incorporated

Hercules, a Delaware corporation, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ashland Inc. Hercules operated the Hattiesburg facility from approximately 1923 to 2009. Ashland acquired Hercules, including the Hattiesburg facility, in 2008.

Information about the Hattiesburg, Miss. Facility

The facility is approximately 168 acres and is located in the city of Hattiesburg, Miss., in the northern portion of Forrest County. During its decades of operation, the facility produced over 250 chemical products, including modified resins, synthetic rubber, and Delnav, an agricultural pesticide. The facility is surrounded by both residential and industrial areas, with several residences abutting the northwestern, southern, and eastern boundaries of the facility. Major site features include former production areas, an industrial landfill, an impoundment basin (IB), and an area for disposal of sludge removed from the IB.

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Pollutants and Environmental Effects

Major contaminants of concern at the facility include benzene, carbon tetrachloride, chlorobenzene, and chloroform. Ground water contamination has been detected off-site to the east of the facility in a residential area, creating potential concerns regarding vapor intrusion. Sludge within the IB is believed to be a significant source of ground water contamination migrating off-site.

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Summary of the Consent Order

The order follows a May 2011 RCRA § 3013 order that required Hercules to conduct environmental investigations both on and off-site to assess the nature and extent of contamination at and from the facility. Results of the RCRA § 3013 investigation revealed several on-site areas of contamination, as well as an off-site contaminated ground water plume. The presence of potential off-site receptors, along with worsened site conditions caused by a City of Hattiesburg sewer line collapse in the area of the contaminated ground water plume, necessitated the need for interim measures to address this off-site contamination. Full site-wide investigation and contaminant delineation continues under the 3013 order.

As part of the consent order, Hercules is required to tak several interim measures  including:

  1. providing cooperation and assistance to the City of Hattiesburg during the repair and replacement of the sewer line that runs adjacent to the eastern boundary of the facility;
  2. removal of dense non-aqueous phase liquid from a well east of the facility;
  3. evaluation of volatile organic compounds in shallow ground water east and south of the facility;
  4. continued evaluation of (and possible mitigation and/or remediation of) the vapor intrusion pathway at nearby residences; and
  5. decommissioning of the IB (including removal and/or treatment of contaminated sludge).

The order also covers potential future interim measures to the extent that contamination is migrating off-site and posing a potential risk to off-site receptors.

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Contact Information

For more information contact

Meredith Anderson
RCRA Corrective Action and Permitting Section
Region 4
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
61 Forsyth Street, SW
Atlanta, Georgia 30303

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